Operator Error Caused 400,000-Gallon Crude Oil Spill Outside Midland, TX

"EnLink Midstream’s Chickadee pipeline ruptured on March 29, 2023, causing one of the largest oil spills in the past decade in Texas. An incident report blames the massive spill on “incorrect operation.”"

"Operator errors caused 402,486 gallons of crude oil to gush out of an EnLink Midstream pipeline south of Midland, Texas on the night of March 29.

The EnLink incident is one of over 100 crude oil spills in Texas reported to federal regulators since Jan. 1, 2022. But the size of the EnLink spill—which would have been enough to fill 50 oil tanker trucks—sets it apart. It was the largest crude oil spill in the Permian Basin, and the fourth largest spill on land in Texas, since 2010.  

According to an incident report submitted to federal regulators, operators overpressurized the pipeline, causing it to rupture. Operators did not shut down the flow for nearly three hours after the pipeline’s leak detection alarm went off. PHMSA’s investigation into the spill is ongoing and the company could face civil penalties or other enforcement actions if violations of pipeline safety regulations are identified, an agency spokesperson said."

Martha Pskowski reports for Inside Climate News May 26, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 05/30/2023